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Circle hook experiment

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Circle hook experiment
I have been having to cut off a lot of hooks while fishing for catfish. I ordered some 6/0 circle hooks to see if they would make any difference. What I discovered today was that the number of deep hooked catfish did decrease by I would guestimate 50-60%. I also noticed that I missed a lot more bites than when i was fishing with 4/0 octopus hooks. I also noticed that more catfish would pull my bobber under and then release it than they did with the 4/0 octopus hooks. Not sure what direction I will go from here. BTW - Utah Lake (at least where we were fishing) was on fire for catfish today. The two largest were Barry caught a 28 1/2 incher and I caught a 29 1/2 incher.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
  You might want to try Kahle hooks. They were specifically designed for cat-fishing.


"Sunrise is always best on the water."
Todd Hall
Utah Disabled Veterans Fishing Foundation ><((((º>
Director
Anything Wet Fishing Team
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I agree. I was underwhelmed by the circle hooks too.

Of course, I experienced no problems hooking the cats with my Gamakatsu 1/0 worm/dropshot hooks. Wink (as my sore arm attests.)

Thanks for the invite on a truly epic day of action. Smile





I caught you a delicious bass.
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Ken, I use 7/0, and 8/0 circle hooks for all my catfishing. Big hooks big bait. I rarely get a deep hooked fish. I would estimate that 90% of my fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth. Very few good hits don’t get hooked. I rarely fish with bobbers but when I do they are large. It takes a pretty good tug to pull them down. Generally hooking the fish. I use only medium heavy rods with a fast tip. I let the rod load up never touching the rod till I get a total takedown. Good strong rod holders are worth there weight in gold for this kind of fishing. Had several plastic rod holders snapped off until I invested in some strong metal holders. I am partial to the Octopus Circle hooks. As you can tell I am totally committed and confident in circle hooks.
Ice_sled
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Re: [ice_sled] Circle hook experiment In reply to
You can't use a normal hookset with circle hooks. If you give it the old " cross their eyes" hookset, you will miss most of your fish. With circle hooks you have to let the rod load up as stated by Icesled and use a sweep set on the rod. A sweep set pulls the hook to the corner of the mouth where the point can engage. A "cross their eyes" hookset, pulls the hook through the lips and out of the mouth keeping the point from engaging. Give it a try!! I use circle hooks for all my dropshotting and have had to learn to sweepset them !! You will rarely miss a bite with the sweepset .
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Are you using off set circle hooks?
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
other than breaking the habit of grabbing your rod and trying to set the hook. It is also imported to snell your hook the right way for it to work.


____________________________________________________

Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn.
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Re: [Ahi1953] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Right on John. The mainline should be coming through the eye of the hook on the point side.
Ice_sled
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I have changed over to 6/0 Octopus hooks almost entirely on my catfish poles. They seem to hold the big carp chunks better, and when the fish takes any part of the hook, they seem to get hooked more securely. Plus with the bigger hook, I get fewer hook-ups with the little mud cats. I still have the small taps from the baby cats and mudders nibbling at the bait, but when the pole bends over and drag starts screaming, I know something larger has taken the hook.

Fishing for cats from a boat, ALWAYS have rods in a good rod holder. Fishing for cats from the bank, again, ALWAYS have rods in a good holder. I made some pretty sturdy bank rod holders last year that have done quite well.
A piece of 1/2 inch rebar 40 inches long with point cut on one end. A piece of 3/4 inch PVC band clamped to a piece of 2 inch PVC.
Drive rebar into the ground about a foot to 18 inches, slide 3/4" PVC over rebar, put rod handle in 2" PVC.
I keep these in the tool box on my truck with a 2 lb. sledge hammer.
(This post was edited by Tin-Can on Jun 20, 2019, 7:04 AM)
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I'm also a believer in circle hooks. I use 6/0 and 8/0 hooks. Lots of good advice above, especially on letting the rod load and resisting the urge to set the hook. The hook will do its job. If the fish are dropping the bait, it is more likely the size of the fish rather than a problem with the hook. A 29"+ fish will easily grab, gulp and go, hooking itself when it pulls away.

With bobbers, I have just started reeling when the bobber goes down, and let the rod load that way. It usually pulls it right to the corner of the mouth.

Some fish are pigs and have the bait swallowed so fast that even circle hooks catch the stomach on occasion.
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I also exclusively use 8/0 circle hooks I prefer the team catfish hooks they're extremely strong! Dont set the hook, bobber fishing when the tug it down reel in the slack and let them hook themselves!!
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Re: [Fritzfishin] Circle hook experiment In reply to
And TETHER that rod! All the lost rod stories I've ever read would have been prevented with a decent tether.



Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Seems like this discussion comes up at least once a year on the board. Circle hooks? Some swear by them. Others swear at them. And, like many other things fishing, anglers tend to form hard and fast opinions based upon the (positive or negative) results of only one or two trips.


My personal opinion is that there is a lot more to the success or failure of any given hook than hook style alone.
1. Hook size. As has been mentioned, larger hooks will discourage smaller fish. But they also allow for using bigger baits and/or leaving the hook point well exposed for a "grab". Covering the point of any hook...circle, octopus or standard J hook...will act like a weed guard on lures...preventing the hook from doing its job.
2. Hook sharpness. No matter what kind of hook you use it should be SHARP. Some hooks are available with "lazer sharpness" right out of the box. Others require a few seconds with a good hook hone to make them effective. And anytime you rely on the fish's surge away from you to set the hook you need sharpness in your favor.
3. Resistance. As has been mentioned, circle hooks (and others) will do their job better on a first surge hookset if the fish is pulling against a stout rod and line with minimal stretch. Or, as has been suggested by IceSled, against a larger bobber for more resistance.
4. Insurance hooksets. Even with a circle hook it is sometimes necessary to "pop their chops" after the first surge. But if you are not experiencing "long line releases" it may not be needed. However, on some days the fish act differently and a followup whack might bring more bigguns to the net.
5. Knots. As has also been mentioned, it is important to attach the hook to your line with a knot that will provide a direct pull...in line with the point of the hook. Otherwise the hook can rotate away from fish flesh and you don't make a connection. Your knots should also be high percentage knots, to prevent breaking the line at the hook connection, either on the strike or during the battle.
6. Baits. There are a lot of differences in the types and sizes of baits. Baits should be big enough to attract the larger fish and discourage (most of) the smaller ones. But they should not be so big and thick that your choice of hooks gets lost in the bait. Use a sharp knife or pair of fishing shears to trim the hooked portion of the bait if necessary...to insure that the point of the hook is exposed enough to get the job done.


I have tried circle hooks off and on for many years and for many species. There are times, places and species for which circle hooks make more sense. But for catfish in Utah I generally use 5/0 to 7/0 ring eye J hooks. When I fish them like circle hooks...letting the fish pull tight on the first surge, almost all my fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth. When the fish are being more persnickety and dropping the bait when they feel resistance, I let them run a bit before whacking them. Still, most are hooked in the corner of the mouth or at least near the outside of the mouth. I seldom donate more than one or two hooks on even a high numbers day.


One thing that has really reinforced to me that letting the fish hook themselves on the strike is a good thing...is my increasing use of fligs. The ones I use for cats all have at least 5/0 sharp hooks. And since I fish with a closed bail...or casting reel engaged...there is no "waiting period". Wham, bam. And most days it is almost 100% hookup on the fish that grab and go. Yes, there are some fishless whacks...but the ones that get the bait and flig in their mouths are almost always well hooked...and almost always right in the corner of the mouth.


So, to me it seems like any good large sharp hook will work as well as a circle hook...for sticking a fish on the strike and planting the hook in the corner of their mouths. That is, if you make sure all of the other elements are covered.

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Re: [doggonefishin] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I'm sure Kent will reply himself in due time, but in regards to the previous respondents, he was setting the hook as described and was not "letting them have it" with a traditional hookset. On a majority of his misses, he seemed to miss them clean. Also, on the fish he ultimately caught, he had about as many swallow the hook as I did using standard hooks. FWIW, I was having no difficulty in hooking up fish and the action was incredible, with a probable 40+ fish day for myself alone. Also, the fish were not dinks, with most being the standard UL "cookie cutters" of 20-24 inches, only a few smaller and as Kent noted, a few bigger.

So a question for the circle hook guys. Is the main reason you use them to reduce deep hooked fish or do you perceive other advantages with them?





I caught you a delicious bass.
(This post was edited by doggonefishin on Jun 20, 2019, 9:10 AM)
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Re: [doggonefishin] Circle hook experiment In reply to
My reason for being such a fan of circle hooks is the percentage of hookups. I think if a cat gives me the opportunity to catch it it is my responsibility to put it in the boat. The sporting thing to do as a responsible Fisherperson. Very few deep hooked fish is a bonus.
Ice_sled
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Re: [doggonefishin] Circle hook experiment In reply to
First, I like how they perform. Second iis that deep hooked fish will sometimes lead to some fish kill. Even cutting the line doesn't assure the fish will survive. If I can hook them in the mouth, much easier to remove and get my line back in the water. I re-tie if I feel abrasion, but most times I can fish the same hook on the same knot through multiple fish. Cheaper in the long run too. Quality big hooks are a little pricey.
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Thanks for all of the replies and suggestions. I was fishing from a boat and I always put my rods in rod holders.

I had a lot more fish pull the bobber for several feet and then just drop the bait than what I am used to. Only on a couple occasions, when I forgot I was using circle hooks, did I jerk my rod to set the hook. On all other occasions, I tightened my line and let the rod set the hook. I had more catfish get off immediately after being hooked than I typically experience. I tied the hooks on using either a uniknot or a palomar knot.

I was fishing with two rods and most of the time they were cast in different directions, and because we were getting so many bites it was difficult to keep up with both rods (nice problem to have). I tried fishing with a bobber on both rods and also with one rod without a bobber and just the smallest split shot sinker and the other rod under a bobber.

The last two trips my fishing partners have hooked almost all of their catfish in the corner of their mouths. They accomplished this by fishing with one rod and using non-circle hooks. They would set the hook immediately after the fish pulled the bobber under (did not let them run at all).

The reason I was hoping that circle hooks would hook almost all of the fish in the corner of the mouth is because I enjoy using two rods and it would be nice if they hooked themselves more often. I tried both with the bail open and the bail closed.

Next trip I will try again with the following adjustments. I will use snell knots (I know how they should be properly tied) and I will always have the bail flipped. If I am not pleased with the results I may switch to one rod (which I can closely watch) use regular octopus hooks and set the hook immediately after the fish begins swimming with the bait.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Always good to have options...to know what your options are...and to be willing to make changes until you find what works best for you.


I think we all know folks who are unshakeable in their beliefs that whatever system they are using is the absolute best...under all conditions. Good to have confidence in your approach but not good if you do not keep an open mind.


Bottom line is that the best system is the one that works best for you and that you can fish with confidence.

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Re: [TubeDude] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Yep, it is a rare fishing trip that I don't try something different than what I have done before.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
Well, at my advanced age, everything I do is new to me...all over again. Keeps the thrill factor up.

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Re: [TubeDude] Circle hook experiment In reply to
TubeDude wrote:




Well, at my advanced age, everything I do is new to me...all over again. Keeps the thrill factor up.




Same here, remind me what we are talking about.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I use the circle hook for a larger piece of bait and and I don’t recall having the hook ever go deeper in the mouth. One thing that happens to often is the hook penetrating the eyeball sometimes when it curls so close to the corner of the mouth. Does this happen often to others? I ran out of little eye patches last year so I went a bit smaller on the hook and it seems happen less but I have not been out enough this year to get a good sampling of its success.
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
kentofnsl wrote:
TubeDude wrote:




Well, at my advanced age, everything I do is new to me...all over again. Keeps the thrill factor up.



Same here, remind me what we are talking about.

I don't remember. And who are you again?
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I always enjoy reading posts about the gear and know-how of other catters. I have used all of the hooks mentioned at one time or another and I have my favorites for different baits and times of the year.

When I consider all of the different hooks I have used over the years and the different knots I have used to tie them to line, it spans many years. My first “hook” and the “hook” that “hooked” me was a simple straight pin bent into a “J” and tied to a piece of string on the end of a willow stick. I used this rig to catch minnows in a small irrigation ditch near my home.

Time passes, and my hooks have advanced from tiny straight pins to big halibut hooks used in Alaska. Between that straight pin hook and the big halibut hook lies about 70 years of memories that I would not trade for all the fortunes of the rich and famous.

The Octopus J hook, the flig, and the 7/0 circle hook are the ones I use the most today. I am never afraid to try something new, especially if it might help me converge with that 36 inch cat.

Fish on.

BLK
image/jpeg DSC00960.JPG (6.71 MB)
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Re: [kentofnsl] Circle hook experiment In reply to
I use Octopus hooks so that I can set the hook. It's like the cowboy in the white hat (me) attempting to out draw the bad guy when he first goes for his gun (tugs in the line). duh.
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